Walt Disney World Crowds Vanish, Parks at Their Emptiest in 10 Years

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Empty Magic Kingdom on July 4

Credit: @DisneyGirlRo via TikTok

Crowds hit a significant low at Disney World yesterday – despite July 4 traditionally bringing in one of the busiest times of year.

When you visit Walt Disney World, you know that lines are inevitable. While Genie+ (theoretically) takes the edge off the worst wait times, peak season can lead to spending hours in line for the Resort’s most popular attractions. These periods usually come around the holidays, with Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July typically leading to Disney World’s busiest times of the year.

Magic Kingdom's Fourth of July fireworks display above Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

However, as Inside the Magic has previously reported, Disney World has seen something of a traffic decline in 2023. While Memorial Day weekend is usually a ‘packed like sardines’ kind of situation at Magic Kingdom, videos shared online showed a much emptier Park than anticipated.

Even Disney’s admitted that visitation is lower than usual. Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Josh D’Amaro confirmed in May that Walt Disney World Resort is currently witnessing a “moderation” in demand after the pent-up anticipation to revisit the Parks once they reopened post-COVID.

Low crowds at Walt Disney World
Credit: Alice S.

Related: Walt Disney World Location Announces No Fireworks This Fourth of July

If we needed more proof that this was the reality, we got it on July 4. Disney World was a ghost town over the weekend preceding the holiday (again, usually a peak time for the Parks). It seems like the crowds in Disney didn’t pick up on the day itself, with Thrill Data reporting average wait times that sat far below those of every Fourth of July dating back to 2014 – making this Disney World’s slowest Fourth of July in a decade.

As it approached 5 p.m. in Orlando, average wait times sat at just over 20 minutes. According to the wait times listed on the My Disney Experience app, some of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions – including Soarin’ at EPCOT, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, and Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios – had waits of less than 20 minutes, while at one point Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway could be accessed in just five minutes.

In the past, wait times at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT (which are typically the busiest Parks on July 4 due to their patriotic fireworks displays) have pushed three hours. This year, the average wait time at Magic Kingdom was just 26.9 minutes, while EPCOT’s was 17 minutes. The longest average wait time across the entire Disney Resort was for Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 79 minutes.

Exterior of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at nighttime
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Is Celebrating the Fourth of July With Some of Its Weirdest Food Ever

There are plenty of reasons why visitation is down on July 4 this year. While some skeptics would like to pin the Resort’s crowd level dip on Disney’s ongoing battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – and there’s a very valid argument that Guests are exhausted by price increases and Disney World Park complications such as Genie+, Lightning Lanes, and the reservation system – there’s another culprit to consider this time: the weather.

Yesterday, temperatures hit a high of 97 degrees Fahrenheit across Central Florida. Not exactly ‘waiting in line for Slinky Dog without shade’ or ‘staking out a spot for the fireworks’ kind of weather. Nor, apparently, is it the weather to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as attendance was also down at Universal Orlando Resort.

Regardless of the weather, there’s no denying that Disney World crowds are on the low side this summer. If there was ever a time to book a crowd-free Disney vacation, now’s your chance.

Are you visiting Disney World this summer? Let us know in the comments!

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